By Chris McGuire | February 4th, 2015
Metasearch has become something of a buzz word in the world of Hotel recently, but many hotels (particularly those outside the large chains) are still not clear what this means, let alone participate in this space. So, what do we mean by “metasearch”?
A metasearch engine is an aggregator of rates and availability from various sources – primarily pulling in rates from OTA’s (Online Travel Agencies). Users of a metasearch website can find a hotel they’d like to book, enter their desired dates and then compare the different rates available from an assortment of websites, in order to book their stay.
Metasearch engines charge those websites a small fee whenever a user clicks through to their website to proceed with a booking.
Better-known examples of metasearch sites include TripAdvisor (as well as providing reviews, this site now also prominently features options for booking online), Trivago, Google Hotel Finder and Skyscanner (having started with flights and now also covering hotels), although there are also several more sites also offering metasearch to their visitors.
Should hotels be working with Metasearch engines directly?
Until recently, it has been very difficult for a small chain or independent hotel to work with metasearch providers – more typically these sites have focussed on establishing relationships with OTA’s such as booking.com, Expedia, etc. Large & Medium-sized hotel chains have started to get to grips with metasearch, but many small chains and independent hotels are still not involved.
This does pose a potential threat to those hotels that do not engage with metasearch: as the old saying goes, “You have to be in it to win it”. Many consumers are accustomed to using metasearch sites to check rates for hotels, and if the hotel’s direct rate is not included in that list then customers are more likely to book through an intermediary. For hoteliers this means a further and continued increase in OTA commissions.
If a hotel is seeking to reduce or cap the commission it pays out to OTA’s, then metasearch does have a role to play in promoting direct bookings, and should be considered.
How can I set my hotel up on metasearch?
At present, most metasearch engines don’t have a direct route for independent hotels and small chains to display their rates on their hotels’ listing. The main exception here is TripAdvisor, who have launched a system called TripConnect that allows hoteliers to link their TripAdvisor listing to their CRS in order to show rates and availability on the TripAdvisor website. However, one down-side to this system is that the hotelier is charged for each click through to their website from TripAdvisor, with little control to cap the spend. This makes it difficult to manage your budget.
Instead, hoteliers may be able to connect to services through their CRS / Booking Engine provider. Again though, these systems tend to have limited control over the targeting and budgeting of spend on the service.
Occupancy Marketing have launched our own Metasearch Advertising service, which allows hoteliers to connect to several metasearch sites. This is also a proactively managed service, meaning that our team are actively monitoring the results, adjusting the targeting and spend based on the results that are being achieved, and working within a set budget or targeted ROI.
If you represent a hotel chain or independent hotel and are interested in appearing in metasearch engine results, please do get in touch »